It’s okay not to be okay. That is the central mantra behind “What Pulls You,” the latest single from Berlin-based Irish singer/songwriter ORIAN. Having released music under his given name, Joey Ryan, for 10 years, he recently changed his name to complement the shift in style, sound, and direction for this dynamic artist. This new single is the third is a series of singles to be released under this new name in the coming months. It highlights the evolution from the folk-tinged songs of Joey Ryan to the tightly produced, emotionally charged, indie-pop soundscapes of ORIAN.
His previous single, “Grateful,” was a poignant track about letting those close to you in. He continues his introspective explorations with “What Pulls you,” where he tackles the darkness of inner battles and how much better it is to deal with those battles together, rather than alone. The sentiment of the song revolves around opening up and the central mantra, which Joey didn’t realize he needed to vocalize until the song was written. He penned the track in reference to the dangers of toxic masculinity and men being made to believe they must put on a brave face. He draws from his experiences in school. He notes, “There was no allowance for feeling down or any avenue to pursue to talk to anyone about it. It was very much a grin and bear it, with a smile on your face kind of attitude, which is incredibly dangerous and wrong.”
Having been impacted by those experiences, Joey created this song to address his thoughts on these experiences and toxic masculinity as a whole. His characteristic pop-infused guitar melodies pepper the verses as the song slow-builds, each chorus gaining more and more traction, emotionally and sonically. His touching vocals convey the emotion behind the lyrics, driven by the desire to pull someone who’s suffering close and to know what’s going on in their mind. Pristine and ethereal vocals create an ambiance that ebbs and crashes throughout the track. With every turn of a chorus, the gravity of the message becomes more poignant. Produced by long-term collaborator ANDOR and mastered by Ainsley Adams, “What Pulls You” is a sentimental ballad that serves as an ode to loved ones and to oneself. It’s a reminder to listeners that it’s important to let people in, that you don’t have to suffer in silence, and that you have people who care about you.
This moving track is accompanied by an equally expressive music video, directed by Nick Scholey, that drives home the importance of individual expression and collective support. The visual pairing adds in another layer of emotion, creating an experience that tugs on heartstrings and delivers the conclusive message which ORIAN wants us all to walk away with – it’s okay not to be okay.